How to Avoid Publishing Scams
As an author, I would always like for my book to reach maximum people. And I am sure that is the dream of any aspiring author, and to ensure that, the job of an author doesn’t end with writing only. It reaches the target readers only when the author successfully avoids publishing scams and reaches the right publisher. Publishing scams are rampant in the publishing world and there is a constant fear by many aspiring authors of stepping into the traps of some notorious self-publishing company and all the hard-work of the author goes down the drain in the process.
Let us understand what are publishing scams so that we can help you understand the things to keep in mind to avoid falling for these scams.
What Are Publishing Scams?
With publishing demand at an all-time high, people are investing more time and money into publishing their works. It is also much easier to publish your work with publishers and self-publishers who are willing to publish your work a lot easier and quicker.
No extra wait times and no hassles of traditional publishing. Along with that, we are seeing the rise of many publishing companies exclusively online and people no longer understand if a publishing company is legitimate or a scam.
That is why we are also seeing the rise of imposters who are just scam artists pretending to be a respectable publishing company. This is because it is very easy to create a website and showcase yourself as a genuine publisher.
These fake publishing companies are the marketing themselves with deals that are genuinely very lucrative and impossible to be matched by traditional publishers.
They are coming up with everything from marketing to salesmen and agents as well as special deals so that people think they are genuine and are investing money into them.
Then once they get hold of the money of the author, they are simply vanishing without a trace. However, that is the less harmful thing because some fake publishing companies are even stealing manuscripts.
This is easy because new authors simply do not understand copyright laws enough to copyright their material and there is it is also becoming very easy to steal from authors.
This Is How You Should Avoid Publishing Scams
Worst self-publishing companies
Worst self-publishing companies are not few in number. They wait with the fangs and claws out, ready to attack any author caught those who are not aware of how they work. They take advantage of the lack of knowledge and inexperience of the author and disguised as traditional publishing house, cheat the author for money- at times disappear with the manuscript.
Book Publishers to Avoid
It is extremely important for an author to know from beforehand which publishing company to avoid and whom to trust. Here are few traits of the self-publishing companies which are signals of publishing scams and an author should avoid:
Publishers who load authors with unnecessary costs and fees like
Reading no proper publishing company charge for reading manuscript. It is their job and they eagerly look forward for good manuscripts.
Purchase compulsions- no proper publisher forces the author to purchase his own book.
Publisher fee for a traditional publisher- A traditional publisher never claims service charge fees. It is Self-publishing companies that take a service charge.
Contest fees- only the notorious publishing companies force the author to participate in paid contests and charge fees
Publishers with conniving advertisings and claims
No good publishing house can guarantee the author for his work to become a bestseller or assure the sale of a guaranteed number.
Another indicator of publishing scam is grossly over-priced self-publishing services and low quality editing and designing.
One of the most dubious set of publishers who can ruin all the hard-work of an author is Vanity Publishing. They are a set of publishing house where the authors publish their work with hardly getting anything in return. As the name suggests, the authors publish purely out of vanity, knowing well their endeavour shall not be a commercially viable one. Taking the advantage of the situation, these publishing houses charge exorbitant fees. Vanity publishers are sly set of people who flatter the author, take money from the author and deliver poor quality of books. Their motive is to make money from the contribution fee of the author- hence are reluctant about promotion, marketing or selling of the books. Vanity publishers have least connections with bookstores and all the books they publish end with sad fate.
Publishers with Unethical Contracts
It is very important for the author to read the terms and conditions very cautiously. Contracts are drafted by the publishing houses and they design the contract for their own financial interest. Worst self-publishing houses add clauses like minimum sales guarantee, or get the rights of the book to themselves and manipulate with the exit clause. Ethical contracts generally allow the author to retain their rights- but these areas are played upon tactfully by the worst self-publishing houses. They are manipulative on the percentage of the royalty to the author as well and try to pay the author as less as possible. Sales residuals are of extreme important and most authors ignore this, being oblivious to the benefit of residual income. The author should ask for it as that can be a major source of income for the author in later days.
Thumbs Down Publisher List
There is a huge list of book publishers who are to be avoided by any author. One of the most prominent vanity publisher is Author Solution. They trade under a long list of names- few of them are AuthorHouse, AuthorHouse UK, AuthorHive, iUniverse, Palibrio, Partridge Publishing, Trafford Publishing and Xlibris. Some other book publishers to avoid are Abbott Press, Alliant Press, AlphaScript, America Star Books, Archway Publishing, Balboa Press, Barbara Bauer Literary Agency, The Writing Crew, The Clock Writing, Olympia Publishers, Indie Writer Support, etc. There are a huge range of names in this category and almost all these companies have issues regarding quality, service, communication, marketing and contracts.
Signs of a Publishing Scam
With alarming rise in rate of publishing scams, it is advisable that an author keeps a strong vigil on the few signs that are considered as indicators. Getting indication of any one of the alerts mentioned below is a signal to the alert to get alert, keep a watch on the publisher and do a thorough check on the credentials.
- When a publisher tries to impress the new aspiring author with a flowery statement.
- When a publisher try to impress the new aspiring author with flowery statement.
- When the representatives of the publisher cannot explain the business model or is not confident while explaining the payment structure.
- Incorporate marketing deals in the package which the author can manage by himself and doesn’t actually need any support of the publisher.
- Publisher charging for reading the manuscript. No ethical publisher- traditional or self-published, charges for reading the manuscript.
- No phone number or address is mentioned and the email address is also ambiguous.
- Names of real people of the company, updated website, presence on social media is missing.
- The publisher insists on the author buying bulk copies of his own books.
- Publisher assuring high sale.
- Communication without any real-life contact. All communication restricted to mails only.
- Ambiguity between verbal discussions and contract.
Writer Beware’s List
An author may find website of Writer Beware extremely useful for combating publishing scams. Writer Beware is a blogsite which has been made primarily to safeguard the authors from publishing scams. This acts as a watchdog in most cases and updates the authors of the latest publishing scam. Furthermore, they try to throw light on impersonation of any form through which an author may get cheated.
Beware If the Publisher Contacts You First
One of the most important things you must keep in mind is that no reputable publisher is going to contact the author. This is just not how things work in the publishing industry. We are talking about both self-publishing as well as traditional publishing.
This is usually done because it is just how things are in the publishing industry and publishers do not want to seem too eager when it comes to publishing a manuscript. That is why the first initiative should be taken by the author. That also shows the level of interest and enthusiasm in the author when it comes to their particular book.
Always Google the Publisher
One of the simplest things you can do to avoid getting scammed is to just take out your phone and search the name of the publisher. All you have to do is to look at the Google listing of that publisher and if you see a location then it is even better. You can physically visit the location and verify how authentic they are. If you do not find a physical location then you can visit their website and check out all the books they have published. You can then order a book to see if the publishing system actually works. Or if you want to take it a little bit further then you can check out the other authors that published with that company and contact them. There are multiple ways for you to verify their authenticity.
Find Their Books on Amazon
It is very easy to verify the authenticity of something in this day and age where you have the entire marketplace at your fingertips. In the previous point, we told you the importance of finding out if their publishing machinery works by finding out if they actually sell their books. But an even better way to find out if they actually sell books is to find them on Amazon. This is because every major publisher out there and even every small publisher out there has their books on Amazon. That is why they might be able to scam you on their website but it is impossible and rather impractical to run a delivery scam of selling books to target potential new authors.
That is why if they have an operational Amazon listing and if there are genuine reviews on it then it is an amazing way to find out that they are legitimate.
Ask The Community
If you are not satisfied with all the other types of verification then this is probably the best way to verify anything and everything online. We are talking about asking people about it because if you are searching for any kind of community, chances are you will get it on social media platforms. That is why if you have any doubts about any publisher or if you want to verify the business then all you need to do is to head on Facebook and search for publishing groups and post your question there. If that does not help then there is always Reddit because you are going to find particular communities where you can ask the legitimacy of a publisher.
Ask Questions to Find Out If the Publisher Is Nervous
The last thing to do is not just relevant for any online business but rather every kind of business and has been practised for centuries. We are talking about finding out the level of confidence of the publishers. If your publisher is genuine then they are going to know everything about publishing a book. That is why if you want to verify their authenticity you need to understand how publishing works and you need to create a questionnaire to test out their knowledge of publishing without seeming obvious. If their answers satisfy you then you have a legitimate publisher. But you must make sure to not ask these questions in an email because they might simply open Chat GPT to find out the answers. You need to ask these questions in person or in a video call.
We hope this blog has been helpful for you to understand how publishing scams work and how you can avoid them. And if you are someone who simply does not have the time to find out the legitimacy of a publishing company then we are had to help you.
You do not need to look any further because we are Orange Publishers and we are a legacy publishing company with decades of experience in the Indian publishing industry. We sell our books on every popular online and offline platform. We hold press conferences and seminars and represent ourselves at literature meets and book festivals. We have a physical location and all our operations are in-house. We welcome you to check out everything that we do and visit our website.
Common Publishing Scams FAQs
How do I know if a publisher is legit?
There are multiple ways you can do that and one of the simplest ways to do it is to do research about them on Google. While this is not the best way to do it but this is certainly how you should start your research in order to find out the legitimacy of a publisher.
You might also go on various forums and ask about them and you can ask about them on different social media platforms and specific publishing groups in order to find out more.
If you have the time then you can also contact the other authors they published for and ask them about the authenticity of the publisher. Furthermore, you might want to find out where they sell their books because a publisher needs to be able to sell their books and if they have Amazon book listings then it is a good sign.
And if you want to know more then we would suggest you read the internet blog.
What publishing companies to avoid?
There are a few types of publishing companies to avoid and one of them would be if the publishing company tries to contact you because no legitimate company will contact the author.
The other type of publishing company to avoid would be a company with no physical location. You must also look out for a company that does not sell its books online or on Amazon.
You must also make sure to stay away from publishers that promise you deals that are way better than the regular market rates.
What is an example of scamming?
An example of scamming in the publishing world would be a publisher that is trying to get hold of a new author and promising them that they will publish their book but not doing so.
This is mostly relevant when it comes to self-publishing because the author is the publisher and the producer as well as the investor and that is why the author needs to spend their own money.
That is where the scam actually happens because the scam publisher will disguise themselves as legitimate and simply scam the author’s hard-earned money.
Why is it important to prevent scams?
It is important to avoid scams not just for yourself but for the entire publishing world and the world of literature. You are someone who has worked very hard for your money and if you want to invest it into publishing a book, then you probably do not want to waste that money on a scammer.
That is exactly why it is important to prevent scams because scammers will not only take away the hard-earned money from new authors pursuing a dream but it will also give the entire publishing industry a bad name.